The pet project of a few Blizzard Entertainment employees turned into an experiment in less-than-epic game development for the company, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a Collectible Card Game for PC, with a release planned for tablet devices somewhere down the pipe.The game is a very streamlined compared to other Collectible Card Games, featuring mana as a resource which is automatically gained without having to play a card, and also having persistent health pools - health doesn't regenerate at the end of a turn if the creature wasn't killed.There are nine classes to play, each represented by a character from the Warcraft universe, and each class has a special hero power costing two mana, which can be used once a turn. Depending on what class you play, you gain access to specific class-only cards, along with the cards that every class can use.The classes are:
Prince Anduin Wrynn, The Priest: Son of King Varian Wrynn, the King of Stormwind, Anduin has access to a multitude of healing and offensive spells, as well as buffs to make his creatures effective Stone Walls. His hero power heals anything on the board for two health, but can change over the course of battle to an offensive spell dealing two—and later three—points of damage.
Warchief Garrosh Hellscream, The Warrior: Current Warchief of The Horde and son of the legendary Grommash Hellscream, Garrosh has access to a lot of weapons and abilities to encourage straight-up brawls. His hero ability grants him two armor, meaning he can step into the fray himself without risking his life.
Gul'dan, The Warlock: The first warlock of the orcish horde, Gul'dan represents the Warlock class and their willingness to sacrifice everything around them in return for power—many of his cards, while strong, will directly hamper his ability to continue fighting by demanding health, cards, or even entire mana crystals as sacrifices for their play. Even his hero power lets him damage himself to draw a card.
Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion: A special hero. Jaraxxus is the Warlock's exclusive legendary minion. If brought into play via normal summoning means (costs 9 mana), he will kill and replace Gul'dan as the Warlock hero for the remainder of the match. He has half the normal hero health, comes equipped with a 3-damage 8-durability weapon and can summon a 6/6 infernal as his hero power.
Archmage Jaina Proudmoore, The Mage: Leader of the Kirin Tor, Jaina uses her magical abilities to shape the battlefield in her favor by freezing, polymorphing, redirecting damage targeted at her, and fireballing her way through the opposition. Her hero power helps with this, allowing her to deal one point of damage to any one thing on the board.
Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage, The Druid: The most powerful druid to ever have lived, Malfurion uses the trademark versatility of the druids to win his battles - many of his cards allows him to choose between which of two effects he wants to use, giving him more versatility than other decks. His hero power has him gain one armor and one attack, allowing him to take out that last bit of health on a card without suffering too greatly himself. Uniquely, Malfurion is the only hero capable of attacking without having a weapon equipped, instead using spell cards and his hero power to give himself an attack.
Champion of the Horde Rexxar, The Hunter: Mok'Nathal and Champion of the Horde, Rexxar calls upon his bestial allies to win his battles. His beasts synergize with each other and with many of Rexxar's abilities, and he has a slew of direct damage shots and secret traps available should the need arise. His hero power is to skewer the opposite hero on an arrow for two damage, allowing him to apply steady pressure to the opponent regardless of what the board looks like.
World Shaman Thrall, The Shaman: Son of Durotan and former Warchief of the Horde, Thrall uses his elemental ties to call upon aid. Elements are fickle beings however, and will often demand mana be paid not only during the turn they are summoned, but also the turn after that. His hero power reflect the volatility of elementals as well—Thrall may summon a totem, imbued with power, but even he will not know which totem the elements grant him.
Lord Uther the Lightbringer, The Paladin: The first paladin of the Order of the Silver Hand, Uther uses the knights at his command along with the power bestowed upon him by The Holy Light to ensure that his cards stay in play through a multitude of healing, buffing, immunity-granting, ressurective and misdirective abilities. His hero power has him summon in reinforcements in the form of a one health / one attack recruit.
Valeera Sanguinar, The Rogue: A blood elven rogue of exceptional skill, Valeera, although identifying as a blood elf, has sworn herself to the Wrynn family and focuses on summoning creatures and using weapons which gain power if they aren't the first card played in a turn, as well as using cheap card removal and card withdrawing abilities to delay an opponent until she can stab them in the back. Her hero power has her equip a one damage - two durability dagger to use as she please.
Tropes appearing in Hearthstone:
Anti-Magic: Silencing a card removes any text and abilities on it.
SI:7 Agent: The agents of SI:7 are responsible for Stormwind's covert activities. Their duties include espionage, assassination, and throwing surprise birthday parties for the royal family.
Ascended Meme: Several memes from World of Warcraft have carried over to this game, such as the Raid Leader's summoning response ("Handle it!"), battlecry when attacking ("Hit it very hard!") and flavor text. ("That's a 50 DKP minus!")
Awesome yet Practical/Awesome, but Impractical: This is the main point of the legendary cards, boasting unique abilities, flashy effects, and act as methods of ending the game. Most legendaries, however, are very specific in their use, have drawbacks, or those flashy effects make them cost more than their non-legendary counterparts.
Tirion Fordring is 8 mana, 6 damage, 6 health, with divine shield and taunt, and a deathrattle which gives you a five attack, three durability weapon. Incredibly powerful unless he is silenced - whereupon he's left a mere 6/6 minion for 8 mana. A druid can get an 8/8 minion with taunt for the same price
Harrison Jones is 5 mana, 5 damage, 4 health with a battlecry that turns your opponents weapon into cards for you. Against non-weapon classes, this card is bog-standard 5/4 minion for 5 mana - and thus the common card 'Silver Hand Knight' would be a much better bet.
Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion is 9 mana, 3 damage, 15 health, sacrifices your hero for a new one with 15 health and a VERY powerful hero ability. But because of how much Jaraxxus costs to bring to the field, that hero ability can't be put to use before next turn, and the infernal it summons can't attack untill the turn after that - and using him at more than 15 health effectively causes damage to yourself.
Ragnaros The Firelord is 8 mana, 8 damage, 8 health. Solid minion, but it cannot attack normally, instead dealing 8 damage to a random target at the end of your turn. It can win you a game, or it can target that 1/1 imp that you couldn't remove because of his mana cost.
Barrier Warrior: Uther can give his minions Divine Shield with a spell or an exclusive minion.
Battle Cry: Cards with the trope name cause an effect whenever played through normal means. Fromd ealing damage, to summoning creatures, to silencing minions, or, in the case of Jaraxxus to replacing your hero. Most legendary cards also enter to a battlecry of their choice.
Tirion Fordring:Put your faith in the Light!
The Beastmaster: Hunter decks specialize in summoning and enhancing beasts.
Berserk Button: Enrage minions will trigger their effect when damaged, and this effect can be anything from massively increased damage to attacking twice a turn - healing them to full again makes them calm down though. A few cards have other similar gimmicks related to taking damage, and this can get out of control very quickly.
BFS: Most of Uther's weapon cards. The Truesilver Champion heals him as he attacks, the Sword of Justice buffs minions he summons at the cost of durability, and the Ashbringer (equipped when Tirion Fordring dies) is just a really big, really tough sword.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: It's a Collectible Card Game, so this is unavoidable since a rich player can buy lots of booster packs, but there are some mechanics in place to mitigate it: You can earn cards (more slowly) through regular playing and completing daily challenges, and you're limited to no more than two of any particular card per deck.
As it stands, money can only buy booster packs, whose contents are determined randomly anyway. So while money can get you options, it can't directly buy you power.
The Lightspawn card for priests averts this by having its attack always be equal to its health. Of course, this works both ways, and boosting the health of a Lightspawn is an easy way to make it a powerhouse.
Deflector Shield: Minions with Divine Shield are impervious to the first hit they take, regardless of damage.
Drop the Hammer: Most notably Thrall's Doomhammer weapon. Two damage, eight durability, and can attack twice per turn.
Dynamic Entry: Charge minions do not require a turn to get ready and can attack right away, leaving you opponent with no time to put up additional defences to counter their influence the first round.
Deathwing takes it a Up to Eleven, and destroys all other minions when summoned.
Forced Tutorial: The player is put through a series of "quests" - battles against fixed opponents with stacked decks - to show them the ropes in a controlled environment. Finishing this unlocks the main menu.
Flavor Text: Many of the cards carry humorous text on them.
Go Through Me: Taunt minions must be destroyed before you can attack cards without taunt - with the exception of hero cards and spells, which make fair game of anything on the field.
Hoist by His Own Petard: It's very easy to turn an enemy's advantage into one of your own. For example, countering a Lightwell, which heals friendly characters, with a Lightwarden, which gains attack power every time a character is healed, and unless they can stop it they can only watch as you turn that small 1/2 Lightwarden into a monster.
I Am Your Opponent: As Jaraxxus is summoned to the field, he makes clear that you will be facing him and not the puny warlock he just replaced.
Jaraxxus: "You face Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion!"
In the Back: The aptly named 'Backstab' card for the rogue - free to use, and deals two damage to an undamaged minion.
I Shall Taunt You: The game includes an emote system, which lets you threaten or taunt an opponent.
Jack of All Stats: Jaina has quite a lot of utility, having a nice spread of spell cards.
Large Ham: The Stormwind Champion and numerous other cards ham up their quotes upon being summoned and Jaraxxus is only not-hammy when he apologizes.
Stormwind Champion: "BEHOLD! the might of STOOOOOOOOOORMWIND!"
Non-Indicative Name: Stealth minions are just as visible as other minions, they just can't be targeted by spells or attacks - multi-target damage may still hit them though.
Noob Cave: Practice mode, where players can face an AI of each hero using their basic deck. It's good to unlock the heroes and dry-run new decks, but can't be used to unlock most daily quests.
Oh Crap: The response of many a player once a legendary hits the field, or a seemingly innocuous card is buffed to high heaven.
One-Hit Kill: A few different spell cards flat-out destroy a minion without registering damage. A couple of minions will also instantly kill any minion that they deal damage to (whether by attacking or being attacked). Amusingly, Lord Jaraxxus is still considered a Demon when he replaces your Warlock hero, so he is vulnerable to another Warlock's Sacrificial Pact spell, ending the match on the spot.
Practical Taunt: Minions with Taunt force opponents to go through them before minions without taunt, forming a very important line of defense for Glass Cannon creatures. Hero powers and spells go right by them though.
Serial Escalation: The cost of the Warlock's demon cards get progressively higher as the cost of the cards rises, in order to match up with their progressively more powerful stats and abilities. You go from losing 2 health to the Flame Imp, to losing 2 cards to the Doomguard, to losing Gul'dan himself to Lord Jaraxxus.
Shout Out: The Black Knight appears as a legendary minion, retaining his status as a walking, talking reference from World of Warcraft. Many other shout-outs are dispersed throughout the various cards' flavor text.
Stonewall: Some taunt cards balance out high health with little to no attack power.
Take That: The final tutorial quest is the first one to use all the rules and start the players off on even footing. The advice text tells you it's horribly unbalanced and you should blame the game designers. (Though ironically, your opponent does have some incredibly powerful creatures and cheap spells at his disposal, and the decks are stacked so you'll get an easy victory if you keep your head. The lesson here is to learn how it's always possible to turn a game around.)
Thanatos Gambit: Deathrattle minions trigger their effect when they die - as such, it is sometimes beneficial to lose your minions. Other cards gain attack power when a minion - any minion - dies, with often ludicrous results.
We Cannot Go On Without You: Victory is decided based on whose main hero character reaches zero health first, regardless of what's on the rest of the board. A player can utterly dominate the field with a wall of minions that could steamroll the opponent next turn, but it's all moot if the other player finishes them off with a spell or hero power before that happens.
When Trees Attack: Malfurion has a few cards like this. He has a trio of huge Ancient minions that act as his exclusive heavy-hitters, and he can summon smaller Treants with a spell (either instantly or by giving his minions a Deathrattle) or with Cenarius' Battlecry effect.
Wizard Needs Cards Badly: Run out of cards to draw, and you start burning health every turn. This counterbalances loading up on powers and minions that let you keep drawing more cards.
Zerg Rush: The basic strategy of a murloc deck, with the buff abilities of some of them being reliant on either having multiple murlocs, or summoning multiple murlocs.